Legislative Council

GREENS BILL: Lib/Lab oppose "Promoting Use of Vacant Land" Bill

November 15th, 2017

On the 15th of November, Mark's Greens Bill - Planning, Development and Infrastructure (Promoting Use of Vacant Land) Amendment Bill 2017 - was brought to a vote and with the combined opposition of Labor and Liberals, the Bill was defeated at the second reading.

The following is a transcript of the debate. To read Mark's second reading speech and a copy of the Bill, see the link at the bottom of the page.

Second Reading

The Hon. T.T. NGO: I rise on behalf of the government. The government opposes the bill as it has the potential to divert public money, that should be used to purchase and manage land for open space for public purposes, to be retained in public ownership. This bill does not provide any real or long-term public benefits. While it may resolve some people's concerns about vacant and derelict privately owned land, it does so at the expense of investment in public-owned land for open space and recreational purposes. I therefore oppose this bill.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: This is a bit of deja vu. The Hon. Mr Parnell moved a motion in this place that we voted on quite recently in relation to the Le Cornu site, which I understand to be the target of this particular bill. The Liberal Party did not oppose that particular motion, on the grounds that it was interfering in setting a precedent in terms of what people could and could not do with private property. This bill takes it even a step further, which is to expand the scope of that, enabling local councils to step in where land has not been used and to put it under statutory lease.

In relation to the Le Cornu site, I understand that the Adelaide city council have made it clear that they have no desire to interfere with the Le Cornu site in such a manner. Again, this measure is to undertake that sort of non-compulsory nature of taking over the site, and therefore the Liberal Party is opposed.

The Hon. M.C. PARNELL: To sum up, I thank the Hon. Tung Ngo and the Hon. Michelle Lensink for their contributions, neither of which surprises me. In relation to the Hon. Tung Ngo's contribution, he makes the point, and I think it is a strawman argument, that money would be better spent on permanent facilities that the government owns, rather than spending money on a temporary facility that might not last too long. His concept was that it would be a bit of a waste of money. I certainly understand that argument.

My view would be that short-term temporary infrastructure need not cost that much money and, if we look at the case of Le Cornu, we could have had a park for 28 years. It could have had trees in pots. It could have had removable playground equipment and picnic tables, but the community would have had the use of it for 28 years.

The Hon. Michelle Lensink's position was consistent with the approach that was taken to the motion that I moved some time ago. The Liberal position is that private property is pretty much sacrosanct, and if someone wants to keep their site an ugly, empty, blighted lot for 28 years that is their right, and the state should not intervene. I disagree.

I am not sure if I misheard the Hon. Michelle Lensink, in relation to the Adelaide city council's attitude. Having the ability to step in and use the land temporarily was exactly what they wanted. I thought the honourable member might have said that it is not what they wanted. Well, it was. They have tried with the Makris Corporation to get their hands on that site so they could use it, and it is only because those overtures have amounted to nothing that I have come up with this idea of a bill. Nevertheless, I can see where the numbers lie tonight. We have a lot of business before us. I am disappointed the bill will not pass, but I do not propose to divide on it.

Second reading negatived.

For more information see a copy of Mark's second reading speech and the Bill

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